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Laidlaw targets crucial win for Jed

While his cousin Greig has set his sights on beating France in the RBS 6 Nations in 10 days' time, Chris Laidlaw has another important match on his mind.

Should Jed-Forest defeat Livingston with a bonus point at Almond Park on Saturday then the men from Riverside Park will be crowned RBS Championship B champions.

It will feel like a significant step in the right direction given that Jed were relegated to the third tier of Scottish club rugby last summer. It was a moment which stung the Borders club into action and this campaign has been compelling viewing.

"I had been playing out in New Zealand for nearly two years with Spotswood United in the Taranaki area," said Laidlaw. "But when I heard that Jed had been relegated my immediate thought was that I should head home and help out.

"I had a great time in New Zealand and progressed a lot as a player. I have been trying to use some of the things I had learned to help get Jed back to where we belong."

His education in New Zealand has also helped Laidlaw, who plays at stand-off, to become Jed's leading points scorer this season, while the team have lost just one league match in 16 so far. That came away to Howe of Fife in October.

With just two matches left to play, Jed have a one-point advantage over Howe and a six-point lead over Musselburgh. "We know that it could well go down to the last day of the season on March 22 and Howe and Musselburgh are still right on our tails," said Laidlaw. "Ideally we want the bonus point but we know that Livingston will be a tough match."

It is just 10 days since Jed Thistle, the colts team with links to Jed-Forest, won the under-18 Youth Cup - as Laidlaw and other senior Jed players watched on. He hopes that it bodes well for Jed's future.

"They did really well and for a small town to produce such good young players is promising for the years to come," Laidlaw added.

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